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Expedia Reveals 2011 “Insiders’ Select” List Featuring
the World’s Top Hotels for Quality and Value

500 Hotels Earn Designation as Insider Select Properties


BELLEVUE, Wash., May 5, 2011 – Expedia.com®, the world’s leading online travel agency, today unveiled the Expedia 2011 Insiders’ Select® results. Insiders’ Select is a global program that identifies the top hotels based on “quality and value,” rather than pure luxury. The ranking is determined primarily by Expedia customer reviews. Every year more than 500,000 reviews are submitted, verified and analyzed to compile the Insider’s Select list.

This year’s top 10 Expedia.com Insiders’ Select properties are:
  1. Cedarbrook Lodge – Seattle, Washington (USA)
  2. iQ Hotel Roma – Rome, Italy
  3. Hotel Antiche Figure – Venice, Italy
  4. Hotel Berchielli – Florence, Italy
  5. Hotel Monterey Kyoto – Kyoto, Japan
  6. The Nines – Portland, Oregon (USA)
  7. Les Terres M Barka - Morocco, Marrakech
  8. K&K Hotel Central - Prague, Czech Republic
  9. Hotel Teatro – Denver, Colorado (USA)
  10. Sofitel New York - New York, NY (USA)
“When it comes to hotels, opulence is a fairly easy thing to measure. What’s more difficult to measure is value – those hotels that regularly deliver a quality experience night in and night out. Insider Select features the world’s top hotels for value,” said John Morrey, vice president, eCommerce at Expedia, Inc.  “These determinations come from our customers. Every year, hundreds of thousands of travelers take the time to share their experiences with Expedia and with one another. The 2011 Insiders’ Select List reflects that collective wisdom.”

To see the complete list of winning hotels and for more information on Insiders’ Select, visit www.expedia.com/insidersselect. To shop for hotels, Expedia.com travelers can find Insiders’ Select hotels by filtering results and selecting the box marked “Insider Select.”

The Insiders’ Select program debuted in 2007. This year, Expedia made the requirements more rigorous; the company required more reviews per property and higher scores per review to make the list. The 2011 winners are the top 500 hotels globally, out of the more than 135,000 properties offered on Expedia sites internationally.  Hotels that made the 2011 list received an average review score of 4.7 and a 98.2% recommendation rate.

Three components are considered when ranking a hotel:
  • Customer Reviews: Reviews are the most powerful testament to the quality of a hotel. Travelers submit reviews after completing a stay at a given hotel. Expedia verifies that each review is legitimate. The company has a comprehensive method of ferreting out fake reviews. More than 500,000 hotel reviews were analyzed over the past year.
  • Market Manager Input: Expedia employs hundreds of market managers in cities across the globe. These market managers work closely with Expedia’s hotel partners to maximize the value the hotels get from Expedia’s global online travel marketplace.
  • Value Rating; Expedia compares each property’s average daily rates to those of similar properties, to assess the hotel’s relative value. This makes it easy for busy travelers to identify hotels that deliver an excellent experience at a comparatively good value. Hotels that routinely exceed customer expectations – in their customer service, amenities, competitive pricing and more – see that emphasis reflected in their rankings.
The 2011 Insiders’ Select list highlights true quality and value in the hotel industry with a remarkable cross-section of properties in different regions, representing various accommodation types and star rating categories. The feature that each Insiders’ Select property has in common is a surpassing commitment to value.

Of the 500 properties on the list, 55 are also “VIP Access” hotels. Elite Plus members can earn free room upgrades and VIP perks at such hotels. Elite Plus customers are those who book more than 15 room nights, or spend more than $10,000 on hotels and airfare, in a calendar year.

About Expedia.com
Expedia.com is the world's leading online travel site, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (http://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide personalized service, the latest technology and the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and in-destination activities, attractions, and services. With the Expedia Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com promises to offer to its customers the best rates available online for all types of travel. Expedia.com is an operating company of Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE).

Expedia, Expedia.com and Insiders’ Select are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners.© 2010 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST: 2029030-40

Expedia.com:  "Savings based on all vacation package bookings with Flight + Hotel on Expedia.com in 2009, as compared to price of the same components booked separately."

SOURCE: Expedia, Inc.

Web site: http://www.expedia.com/

Expedia® Insiders’ SelectTM 2011
Frequently Asked Questions

Background

As the largest online travel agency in the world, Expedia has unmatched traveler insight and local market destination expertise. For the last five years, Expedia has leveraged its rich hotel content, traveler reviews and local market expertise to deliver a highly informative and compelling list of top hotels worldwide via the Expedia® Insiders’ SelectTM program. The Insiders’ Select list recognizes the top-ranked hotels available in Expedia’s global marketplace, drawing on Expedia’s collection of more than 500,000 annual guest reviews combined with a value rating and the local market expertise of Expedia employees in markets worldwide.

This exclusive list of only 500 hotels around the globe represents a selection of the top properties offered on Expedia. The Insiders’ Select program helps travelers make confident decisions by identifying the hotels in their destinations that have been recognized by other travelers as delivering an excellent overall experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Expedia publish the Insiders’ Select list?

As the world’s leading global travel marketplace, Expedia is focused on empowering travelers with the information and tools to make confident travel decisions and book the right trips for them. Expedia has an expansive collection of guest hotel reviews and hundreds of employees on the ground in local markets around the world, giving us unmatched travel intelligence. In unveiling the Expedia Insiders’ Select list, Expedia leverages that intelligence to deliver our most informative and compelling list of top hotels worldwide to travelers while at the same time formally recognizing those hotels that Expedia travelers and market experts report as delivering both a great overall experience and a great value.

What does it mean to be designated an Insiders’ Select hotel?

The Insiders’ Select list represents only a small percentage of the hotels offered on Expedia sites; from the more than 130,000 hotels available, only 500 hotels are deemed Expedia Insiders’ Select 2011 winners.

What are the eligibility requirements for a hotel to be considered?

Hotels must have a minimum number of guest reviews and a minimum guest review score of 4.5. However, on average the winning hotels earned a guest review score of greater than 4.7 during the qualifying year (2010).

How are hotels selected?
The Expedia Insiders’ Select list is developed using a weighted mathematical formula that combines three factors:
  1. Expedia’s collection of more than 500,000 annual guest reviews – hotel reviews created by Expedia travelers after they complete their stays at hotels booked on Expedia.
  2. A value rating that compares hotel properties to others within the same star-rating and geography – this rating helps identify hotels that deliver not only great overall experience but also a notable value for the consumer’s money; and
  3. The local expertise and insight from the hundreds of Expedia employees on the ground in destinations throughout the world.
How are the criteria weighted?
The specific formula is proprietary, but guest reviews are given a substantial majority of the weighting, with the local hotel expertise and a comparative value rating rounding out the rankings.

What is the value rating?
The value rating considers the relative value each hotel delivers comparative to similar hotels. The specific formula is proprietary, but we consider a number of factors including hotel star ratings and geography to compare similar hotels.

How do you ensure the Expedia employees’ input is unbiased?

The spirit of the Insiders’ Select designation is about highlighting the global selection, value and quality that Expedia hotel partners deliver to customers. The list methodology is highly quantitative and largely based on Guest Reviews data and scores from the preceding year. In order to leverage Expedia’s local market expertise, we also integrated qualitative input from Expedia employees in hundreds of markets worldwide, each of whom are familiar with the best that their city has to offer. These experts were asked to rank local properties in their regions based on which they would recommend to their friends and family. Finally, the value rating is based on existing retrospective data concerning hotel rates comparative to similar hotels.

Is there any way for a hotel to “buy” its way onto the list?
No, there is no paid inclusion of hotels on the Insiders’ Select list.

How do you collect Guest Reviews?

Once they return from their trips, Expedia customers receive an email inviting them to submit a guest review. Customers can also visit their local Expedia sites, login to their accounts, and submit reviews at www.expedia.com/traveleropinions after their hotel stays have been completed. Once a review is submitted, Expedia will also send a confirmation of receipt. The review is then moderated for content, and customers receive an email letting them know that their reviews will appear on the live site within 24 hours.

How do you verify Guest Reviews?

Unlike some travel sites, Expedia posts only those Guest Reviews written by customers who have booked their hotel on an Expedia-branded site and completed their stay within the last six months. This ensures relevance and timeliness of the reviews.

How many customers submit a Guest Review following their trips?
We receive approximately 10,000 new reviews per week from Expedia customers.

How do you ensure that 2-star properties have the same chance to make the list as a 4-star property?
Guest Reviews reflect Expedia travelers’ experiences of hotels’ service, condition, room cleanliness and comfort, which are measures that all hotels have the ability to effectively address, regardless of their star rating.

How often do you plan to refresh the list?
This year marks the fifth annual unveiling of the Insiders’ Select list. We first announced the list on Expedia sites in the United States and Canada in 2007, using data from 2006, and we expect to unveil a new list each year

How will hotels on the list be designated as such on Expedia sites?

The full list is accessible at www.expedia.com/insidersselect, where people can browse Insiders’ Select hotels by region, country, state and city. The list will also be accessible through the Hotels tab on Expedia sites. Insiders’ Select hotels are designated with a special logo that appears in the individual hotel info sites on most Expedia points of sale.

Do you plan to roll the program out to international Expedia points of sale?

This year the Insiders’ Select program will be available on the hotel info sites on most of Expedia’s global points of sale.

This year’s list seems to have many hotels that were not winners last year – did something change?

Slightly more than half of the hotels (56%) on this year’s list are new; 56 percent are new winners this year and 44 percent were Insiders’ Select winners in 2010. This may be attributable to a number of factors. First, it is increasingly apparent in the market that the growing body of usergenerated content and guest reviews are quite dynamic and powerful. The most heavily-weighted factor in compiling the Insiders’ Select list is the average Guest Review score, so an increase or decrease in the volume of reviews or the aggregate score of a hotel’s reviews can significantly impact its ranking.

Another consideration may be that hotels with the Insiders’ Select designation are held to a higher standard by customers who see the logo next to their name at the time of booking. So hotels that were on the list throughout 2010 may have commanded higher expectations from guests this year.

How can I help influence the likelihood that it will make my hotel will make the list next year?
Given that the methodology weighs the two quantitative components more heavily than the third (the qualitative component), it is difficult to guarantee placement on the list. That said, the most heavily weighted factor is the cumulative Guest Review scores submitted by Expedia travelers during the year immediately prior to the award, so the best way to influence your ranking on the Insiders’ Select list is to consistently deliver a great experience to your guests who book on Expedia. In addition, a value rating is one of the three methodological factors, so those hotels that deliver a competitive value in the rates they offer through Expedia through both the hotel and vacation packages paths can increase their rankings.

You may even consider encouraging your Expedia guests who you know have enjoyed their stay to submit a Guest Review upon check-out. An Expedia Guest Review instructions sheet (attached to your congratulatory 2011 winner email) may also be printed and distributed to your Expedia guests.

Where can I provide feedback about this program?

We welcome your feedback about the program. Please provide your input to your Expedia Market Manager.
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Contact:

Adam Anderson
Expedia.com
(425) 679-7760
adaanderson@expedia.com

Devon Nagle
HL Group
(646) 460-8911
dnagle@hlgrp.com


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